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Offering Acceptable Praise


To praise God is to become who we really are, since we were created to live for the praise of God’s glory (Eph 1:12).

123Our Lady teaches us through her song of praise, the Magnificat.  She exclaims, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  Her word choice may seem surprising, since the verb "magnify" means to "make greater."  How can anyone make God greater, when he is already infinitely great?  What the Magnificat reveals is that as we praise God, he is magnified in our own hearts and understanding.  We live in a world under deep oppression, where God is often pushed to the margins.  To praise God is to break through that fog….  We begin to see how awesome God is, how magnificent his plan is, how minuscule our problems are compared with his mighty power, how nothing is impossible for him.

As we praise God, our spirits become awakened and alive to his love.  Our minds become aligned with his purposes, and we begin to be aware of all that is possible and available to us from his throne of grace.  Our weak little yes to God is enlarged to a much greater yes.  Even more, praise affects the spiritual world.  Evil spirits cannot bear to be present where God is being honored.  Our praise makes demons flee...

Our natural tendency is to praise God only when things are going well.  But Scripture tells us, Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you....  After praising God, the other forms of prayer — repentance, reading God's Word, interceding for others, or praying for my own needs — flow more from the leading of the Holy Spirit and less from my own limited human ideas.  I’m able to pray with a heart more attuned to God’s will and his wonderful purposes.



healyMary Healy. "Offering Acceptable Praise." excerpt from When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer  (Kathleen Beckman, Ed. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2017).

This excerpt is from Mary Healy's contribution to the book When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer, edited by Kathleen Beckman and published by Sophia Institute Press.

The Author

healyMary Healy is professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and an international speaker on topics related to Scripture, evangelization, healing, and the spiritual life. Dr. Healy is chair of the Theological Commission of CHARIS (Charismatic Renewal International Service) in Rome.  In 2014 Pope Francis appointed her as one of the first three women ever to serve on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. She is the author of Healing: Bringing the Gift of God’s Mercy to the WorldScripture, Mercy, and HomosexualityDeliverance Ministry and co-author of The Spiritual Gifts Handbook: Using Your Gifts to Build the Kingdom Her web site is here

Copyright © 2017 Sophia Institute Press
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